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As a journalist that has investigated the issue of Help a Needy Child International (HANCI) in relation to the 29 Sierra Leonean children whose adoption was arranged and facilitated by the NGO and taken to the United States during the war period, I see the white paper and the government recommendations as one sided.
It stands as an indisputable face that no organisation can facilitate adoption single handedly with the Ministry of Social Welfare and the Sierra Leone Judicial court.
According to legal findings of the commission, it says the adoption process was fundamentally flawed in many respects and was therefore not transparent because the practices of the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children Affairs, were to interview parents in accordance with the law to ensure that they understood the nature and effect of adoption prior to the parents giving their consent for adoption of their children. This was not done, which means it was a deliberate attempt by the Ministry of Social Welfare to deceive the parents, an unprofessional behaviour that should have warranted a ban on the said individuals from holding any position of trust.
It is hard to believe that no single person from the ministry was mentioned in relation to the crime, but the updates of children that were coming from the United States were all addressed to the Ministry of Social Welfare.
It is also important to note that MAPs, the adoptive agency, told this medium that they are not in a position to answer any question in relation to HANCI and the adoption as the country’s Ministry of Social Welfare was much more involved in the entry process, but why did the Commission allowed the Ministry to enjoy impunity?
Another point worth noting is that the High Court gave approval for the adoption of some of the children in the mistaken belief that the requirement mentioned in paragraph (a) was followed, can be challenged easily by nay rational owing to the fact that the reason for the approval was solely on the face of personal interest and not a mistake at all.
It could be recalled during the seating of the Commission at the Miatta Conference Center in Freetown, the ex-director of Help a Needy Child International, Dr. Roland Foday Kargbo, tendered before the Commission a document bearing the signature of the Chairperson of the Commission Ade Elizer Showers when serving as an high court judge in relation to the said matter, but no punishment was allocated to her because one cannot asked the dog to bite its tail.
The United States Embassy has records of over 200 Sierra Leonean children taken out of the Country illegally without going through the due process of the law. The Justices Showers Commission of Enquiry has indicated that the minister of Social Welfare stands responsible for the many illegal adoptions that were going on in the country but still allowed those senior officers in the ministry that were using illegal adoptions as money making to remain unexposed in the recommendations and government white paper.
Coming from a non dispassionate point of view I will recommend the police to kick start the investigation that will help bring to light the names of any sole of Adam that aid or abet illegal adoption in the ministry and the judicial system.
The recommendations and government white paper does not in any way solve the problems of illegal adoption because the two key players, that is, the Judiciary and the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children Affairs seems to enjoy impunity and it will take until they are named, shamed, and punished before they can desist from such habit.
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